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An Idealist Theology of Creation
Philosophy of Religion Meets Philosophy of Mind
Edited by Godehard Brüntrup, Benedikt Paul Göcke and Ludwig Jaskolla
Theories of Sense Perception in the 13th and 14th Centuries
Edited by Elena Băltuță
Contributors are Elena Băltuță, Daniel De Haan, Martin Klein, Andrew LaZella, Lukáš Lička, Mattia Mantovani, André Martin, Dominik Perler, Paolo Rubini, José Filipe Silva, Juhana Toivanen, and Rega Wood.
The Lamb and the Wolf
Edited by Simon Polinder and Govert J. Buijs
William J. Hoye
Edited by Philip MacEwen
Idealist Alternatives to Materialist Philosophies of Science (ed. Philip MacEwen) makes the case that there are other, and arguably better, ways of understanding science than materialism. Philosophical idealism leads the list of challengers but critical realism and various forms of pluralism are fully articulated as well. To ensure that the incumbent is adequately represented, the volume includes a major defence of materialism/naturalism from Anaxagoras to the present. Contributors include Leslie Armour, John D. Norton, and Fred Wilson with a Foreword by Nicholas Rescher. For anyone interested in whether materialism has a monopoly on science, this volume presents a good case for materialism but a better one for its alternatives.
Akten der vom 19. bis 21. Mai 2016 im Kapitelsaal des Predigerklosters in Erfurt stattgefundenen internationalen interdisziplinären Tagung (Meister-Eckhart-Forschungsstelle am Max-Weber-Kolleg der Universität Erfurt)
Edited by Andrés Quero-Sánchez
The book contains the proceedings of the conference ‘A Clearing of the German Forest: Mysticism, Idealism and Romanticism’ (“Eine Lichtung des deutschen Waldes: Mystik, Idealismus und Romantik“) (May, 19-21, 2016, Dominican Convent, Erfurt), including contributions by some of the most important representatives in this field (Jens Halfwassen, Theo Kobusch, Johann Kreuzer, José, Sánchez de Murillo, Glenn A. Magee, Markus Vinzent, Rudolf K. Weigand, Christian Danz, Markus Enders, et al.). The volume presents articles concerning the relationship of Fichte, Hegel, Hölderlin and Schelling with the most characteristic German mystics. The conference was organized in the context of the research project “A Historical, Philological and Systematic Study on Mystical Reason and its Reception in Schelling‘s Works”, funded by the German Research Foundation.
Der Band enthält die Akten der vom 19. bis 21. Mai im Kapitelsaal des Predigerklosters in Erfurt organisierten internationalen interdisziplinären Tagung „Eine Lichtung des deutschen Waldes: Mystik, Idealismus und Romantik“, mit Beiträgen von einigen der wichtigsten Forscher in diesem Gebiet (Jens Halfwassen, Theo Kobusch, Johann Kreuzer, José Sánchez de Murillo, Glenn A. Magee, Markus Vinzent, Rudolf K. Weigand, Christian Danz, Markus Enders, usw.). Gesammelt werden in diesem Band die das Verhältnis von Fichte, Hegel, Hölderlin und Schelling zu den zentralen Autoren der deutschen Mystik betreffenden Aufsätze. Die Tagung fand im Kontext des von der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft finanzierten Projekts „‘Der ewige Begriff des Individuums‘: Eine historisch-philologische-systematische Untersuchung der mystischen Vernunft und deren Rezeption im Werk Schellings“ statt.
Eine Religionsphilosophie. Aus dem Schwedischen übersetzt und herausgegeben von Christian Tapp, unter Mitarbeit von Elisa Neuschulz
P. Rainer Carls SJ
Edited by Christian Tapp
Wichtige Fragen des Buches sind, wie wir über Gott sprechen können, ob es ihn gibt und was wir darüber wissen können. Gottesbegriffe wie der des allervollkommensten Wesens, der ersten Ursache oder des absoluten Geistes werden vorgestellt und diskutiert. Schließlich werden Aspekte von Gottes Beziehung zur Schöpfung besprochen: sein Verhältnis zum Bösen in der Welt, zur Freiheit des Menschen und zur Weltgeschichte. Ein längeres Kapitel zur Geschichte der natürlichen Theologie rundet die Darstellung ab.
Edited by - Quero-Sánchez and Ben Morgan
In Chapter 8, “Bradleyan Idealism and Philosophical Materialism,” K.M. Ziebart argues that the historical polarization between philosophical materialism and idealism is not really helpful, as evidenced by F.H. Bradley’s metaphysics in which the ideal and the material coexist and even overlap. According to Bradley, material and ideal processes are fundamentally embodied, natural phenomena. One way in which this coexistence is manifested is the development of the function of judgment. Judgment may be what distinguishes human beings from other creatures but it has evolved out of other physical processes and thus should not be regarded as a clear or essential dividing line between the two. Judgment is a “late acquisition” of human beings, indicating that the possession of mind is really a matter of degree. Bradley’s analysis of mental development is indicative of his overall metaphysics. Not only is it empirical in method but it regards ideal operations as continuous with the physical without reducing them to it. This careful balancing of the ideal and the material highlights the realism of Bradley’s metaphysics as well. It is both idealist and materialist, Ziebart maintains, since there is nothing that falls outside reality in its idealist and materialist instantiations. Furthermore, the careful balancing of the ideal and the material as jointly constituting reality highlights the realism of Bradley’s metaphysics. Indeed, Bradley’s metaphysics might best be described as empirical in methodology, idealist in development, materialist in embodiment, and realist in totality.
In Chapter 6, “Charles De Koninck, John Leslie, and the Parameters of Science,” Elizabeth Trott shows how De Koninck, a transplanted Belgium philosopher who made his career at Université Laval from 1934 onwards, and John Leslie who immigrated from Canada to England and spent the bulk of his career at the University of Guelph, both devoted their energies to delineating the limits of science with very different, though not incompatible, results. For De Koninck, this project consisted in rethinking the world in terms of the work of Einstein and other major scientists of the 20th century and examining its implications for nature and thought. De Koninck concluded that the new scientific outlook produced a “hollow universe,” both physically and mentally, where scientific research was conducted without the concept of the good. For Leslie, modern science reveals that the worlds of human experience, scientific experience, and divine causal intervention are basically the same world. Using the Platonic Forms as a necessary and eternal realm of abstract truths and the principle of ethical requiredness, Leslie argues that scientists use patterns to study the world. These patterns enable prediction and hence further discovery in science. Patterns and their recognition, however, are peculiar to the minds of persons in which case the existence of patterns requires the existence of beings who can recognize them. From the existence of beings who recognize patterns, Leslie infers the existence of a cosmic or divine mind whose thoughts give existence to the patterns. The divine mind makes comprehensible to our minds abstract and eternal Platonic truths, including the truth that the existence of a good world is undeniably more rationally convincing than the existence of an evil world. Thus, the worlds of scientific experience, human experience, and divine causal intervention are the same world and De Koninck’s “hollow universe” is filled in by a universe whose terms are related by ethical requiredness.
In Chapter 7, “Idealism and Naturalism: A Really Old Story Retold with Variations,” Fred Wilson argues that naturalism cannot accept Socratic forms and necessary connections and the legacy they have bequeathed to later forms of philosophical idealism because they all violate the Principle of Acquaintance. According to this Principle, we may justifiably introduce something into our ontology only if we are acquainted with it in sensible experience or inner awareness (our passions and feelings along with reflecting on what we are acquainted with through sensible experience). Wilson uses this Principle to defend naturalism and critique philosophical idealism from Anaxagoras to Brand Blanshard. The result is a tour de force which should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand the history, logic, and ontology of the debate between naturalism and philosophical idealism in the philosophy of science.
In Chapter 3, “Idealism and the Philosophy of Science,” Hugo Meynell argues that philosophical idealism is an enormously important half-truth, significantly improving upon materialism, which makes science impossible, but falling well short of critical realism, the position Meynell endorses, and its standard of true judgments. Philosophical idealism rightly emphasizes the constructive role of intelligence in our apprehension of what we take to be “reality” or “the actual world.” However, it is not the correct position for determining under what conditions, precisely, judgments are true. Critical realism does have such a criterion. Judgments are true insofar as they are well-founded and they are well-founded insofar as they are reached attentively (entertaining the relevant evidence in experience), intelligently (envisaging the possibilities or hypotheses which could explain the case at hand), and reasonably (judging in each case as probable or certain which hypothesis adequately explains the evidence).
Edward L. Schoen
In Chapter 5, “Nature, God, and Scientific Method,” Edward L. Schoen challenges a strictly idealist, naturalistic, or any other monolithic approach to science. He argues that scientific methods counsel a tentative, rather open-ended pluralist, stance to the history of their development. After surveying the history of philosophy of science from A.J. Ayer to the present, Schoen concludes that there are only three methodological practices which characterize science typically and persistently: 1) the drive to uncover and identify scientific laws; 2) the empirical nature of science, and 3) the methodological constitution of kinds. Even these do not stem from any distinctively metaphysical commitments about the objects that science studies nor, on the subject side, does any of them preclude the possibility of supernatural agency or divine intervention, contrary to what some philosophers of science like E.O. Wilson have maintained.
John D. Norton
In Chapter 4, “Philosophy in Einstein’s Science,” John D. Norton shows how Einstein, who read, wrote, and appreciated philosophy but was not a dogmatic philosopher, nevertheless used philosophy pragmatically to 1) legitimate an extraordinary new physical proposal concerning time in relativity, 2) find what he called an “epistemological defect” in earlier theories which, in turn, motivated him to seek a general theory of relativity, 3) ground his theorizing in principles that distinguish the real from the unreal, 4) adopt a form of mathematical Platonism as the way to find new theories, such as the unified field theory, and 5) portray himself, correctly and unapologetically, as an “unscrupulous opportunist” to the systematic epistemologist by combining realism, idealism, and positivism in order to advance his theorizing.
In Chapter 2, “Science and the Humanities in Hume’s Philosophy of Religion,” Philip MacEwen contends that, unlike our “two-culture” view of science and the humanities, David Hume had a “one-culture” view, treating all human learning under the rubric of “the science of man” which he divided into seven disciplines: mathematics, natural philosophy, natural religion, logic, morals, criticism, and politics. One can still detect a dividing line between the first three disciplines and the last four. According to Hume, the first three are in some measure dependent on the science of man, since they are mediated to a certain extent by human thought and judged accordingly, while the last four are entirely dependent on it. Thus, it is possible to read our two- culture view of science and the humanities into Hume’s one-culture view of the sciences. Applying this insight to Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, MacEwen argues that we can makes sense of two competing strands of thought in it (Philo’s skepticism regarding natural religion and his heartfelt confession that no one has a deeper sense of [natural] religion than he.) and resolve the competition between them. If we put these two strands together, we get Philo’s one-culture verdict at the end of the Dialogues which is remarkable for both its rationality and sensitivity: the causes of the order of the universe probably have some remote analogy to human intelligence, to which the most inquisitive, contemplative, and religious person must admit that the supporting evidence exceeds the contrary.
In Chapter 1, “The Things that Fill the World,” Leslie Armour tries to determine of what “the world,” construed as the amalgam of objects we think we encounter directly and the theoretical entities of physics, consists. He argues that even the objects we think we encounter directly---chickens, works of art, coins, account books, automobiles, etc.—require a good deal of “making” on our part if we are even to perceive them. It takes a lot of concepts and mental activity to see an automobile. As Gilbert Ryle was fond of saying, “seeing” is an achievement verb. In this sense, the things that physicists talk about—electrons, protons, neutrons, quarks, etc.—are not unlike the objects we think we encounter directly since the mental apparatus required to understand both types of objects is considerable.
Menno R. Kamminga
This article revisits theologian Ulrich Duchrow’s three-decade-old use of the Protestant notion of status confessionis to denounce the capitalist global economy. Scholars quickly dismissed Duchrow’s argument; however, philosopher Thomas Pogge has developed a remarkable “negative duty”—based critique of the current global economic order that might help revitalize Duchrow’s position. The article argues that sound reasons exist for the churches to declare the contemporary world economy a—provisionally termed—status confessionis minor. After explaining the inadequacy of Duchrow’s original position and summarizing Pogge’s account, the article develops a twofold argument. First, Pogge’s in-depth inquiry into the world economy gives Duchrow’s call for a status confessionis a strong yet narrowing economic foundation. Second, to declare the world economy a status confessionis minor is theological-ethically justifiable if the limited though indispensable “prophetic” significance of doing so is acknowledged. Thus, Duchrow’s approach is justified, but only partially.
Andrew Basden and Sina Joneidy
Meaning is important in everyday life, and each science focuses on certain ways in which reality is meaningful. This article (the second of two) discusses practical implications of Herman Dooyeweerd’s understanding of meaning for everyday experience, scientific theories, scientific methodology, and philosophical underpinning. It uses eight themes related to meaning in Dooyeweerd’s philosophy, which are discussed philosophically in the first article (and summarised here). This article ends with a case study in which the themes are applied together to understanding Thomas Kuhn’s notion of paradigms.
In contrast to the dominant way of thinking in economics, in which economics is seen as a positive or neutral science, this paper argues that economics is a discipline that has its own normativity. This economic normativity should be distinguished from what is usually considered as ethics, which normally has a broader scope (e.g., stewardship). This paper further argues that the budget constraint is a key source of economic normativity, although it is not the only source. Economic-theoretical and philosophical aspects are discussed, and consequences for economic life and policy are assessed.
Michael J. DeMoor
This paper offers a characterization and critique of the idea of bounded rationality and its consequences for public policy. It offers an alternative way of accounting for the crucial features of human rationality that bounded rationality sees, using categories inspired by the Reformational philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd and others, and then shows how this alternative account of the “bounds” of human rationality points toward an alternative orientation toward public policy-making.
Morality in a Secular World
Jeff O’Connell and Michael Ruse
In the second half of the nineteenth century, many people lost their faith in the Christian God. Nevertheless, they were eager to show that this move towards a secular world picture did not mean the end of morality and that it could continue as much before. In a Darwinian age this was not possible and the Christian cherishing of the virtue of meekness was replaced by a moral respect for vigor and effort directed both towards self-realization and to the well-being of society. We compare the British moves to those promoted by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. There are significant similarities but also differences that reflect the British industrialized notion of progress versus the German idealistic notion of progress.
Thomas J. Coleman III, Kenan Sevinç, Ralph W. Hood Jr. and Jonathan Jong
In accordance with Terror Management Theory research, secular beliefs can serve an important role for mitigating existential concerns by providing atheists with a method to attain personal meaning and bolster self-esteem. Although much research has suggested that religious beliefs are powerful defense mechanisms, these effects are limited or reveal more nuanced effects when attempting to explain atheists’ (non)belief structures. The possibility of nonbelief that provides meaning in the “here and now” is reinforced by the importance placed on scientific discovery, education, and social activism by many atheists. Thus, these values and ideologies can, and do, allow for empirically testable claims within a Terror Management framework. Although religious individuals can and largely do use religion as a defense strategy against existential concerns, purely secular ideologies are more effective for atheists providing evidence for a hierarchical approach and individual differences within worldview defenses. Evidence for and implications of these arguments are discussed.
A Study of the Dagomba Community
There has been a growing visibility of witchcraft beliefs in the African media. The dominant paradigm in the academic literature on witchcraft is that the media reinforce witchcraft beliefs by disseminating information and ideas that are related to witchcraft accusations and witch hunting. However, a careful examination shows that this is not always the case because the media serve other counter purposes. Using ethnographic data from the Dagomba area in Northern Ghana and the concept of forum shopping, this paper explores how accused persons in the Dagomba communities utilize the limited media coverage to enhance their responses to witchcraft accusations. Apart from disseminating information regarding the activities of assumed witches, the media publicize perspectives that reject witchcraft notions.
Anastasia E. Somerville-Wong
This paper, by the founder of the UK based Secular Liturgies Network and Forum, explores the concept and purpose of secular liturgy, and the potential for liturgical events in modern secular societies. It examines the practice of writing secular liturgy, discusses potential contributions from atheists, agnostics, humanists and religious progressives, and considers the new pastoral roles that may evolve alongside a secular liturgies movement. The author argues that secular liturgies and liturgical events have the potential to enrich secular culture, nurture community, facilitate healthy social interaction, advance ethical thought, promote creative writing and other arts, and galvanise people in their efforts towards sustainability and the creation of cultures and environments of health.
This essay follows the assumption that the first principle of classical metaphysics has its counterpart in political sovereignty as suprema potestas. Therefore, both can be equally described as arché. Their epitome is the God of so-called ontotheology, who thus proves to be what I call the Ur-Arché. In contrast to current post-metaphysical approaches, however, I suggest overcoming ontotheology through a different metaphysics, which emphasizes the self-transcending surplus character of being. I regard early Christian martyrdom as an eminent way in which the surplus of being is manifested. This has two interwoven aspects, one ontological and one political, both arising from the excessive idea of the Christ event, or the notion that there is life beyond life unto death. I will analyse the mechanism allowing early Christian martyrs to counteract Roman imperial sovereignty. Finally, I will relate this to contemporary life systems in which sovereignty has become anonymous biopower.
Violence, Radical Theology, and Crisis
Jason W. Alvis and Jeffrey W. Robbins
The aim of this paper is to develop a conception of God that works with the identification of being-before-the-law and being-with-God. In addition, it argues that developing a rethinking of God along such lines necessitates, equally, the development of the concomitant political theology and philosophical anthropology that such a repositioning of God envisages. Processes of subject creation have to be thought in relation to any philosophical engagement with the law.
With the upsurge in various forms of religion, especially dogmatic forms that kill in the name of good versus evil, there is an urgent need for intellectuals to acknowledge and analyze the role of religion in contemporary culture and politics. If there is to be any hope for peace, we need to understand how and why religion becomes the justification for violence. In a world where religious intolerance is growing, and the divide between the secular and the religious seems to be expanding, Julia Kristeva’s writings bridge the gap and once again provide a path where others have seen only an impasse. Her approach is unique in its insistent attempt to understand the violence both contained and unleashed by religion. Moreover, she rearticulates a notion of the sacred apart from religious dogmatism, a sense of the sacred that is precisely lacking in fundamentalism.
Derrida’s “Question” and the Meta-ontological Origins of Philosophy and Violence
Despite Jürgen Habermas’ famous suggestion that the violence of history might be mitigated by “the liquidation of unconditional claims,” the issue of whether monotheistic religions and the metaphysical rationality they engender are indeed the hidden source of such violence remains an open one. This essay explores how Derrida with his project “deconstruction” sought to deal in a manner unique to philosophy with the question of the relationship between violence, the unconditional, and the ontological. It proposes that Derrida’s “Jew-Greek” dilemma, which encapsulates the problem of the “violence” of metaphysics, is resolved through Levinas’ project of disrupting Husserlian phenomenology with an alterity that is not simply a heteron that disintermediates the logic of predication, but one that challenges what is normally meant by philosophy itself.
Thoughts on religio and the History of Human Mortality
This essay draws attention to the question how a strong notion of unconditional responsibility in the face of the other’s mortality (as it was claimed by Emmanuel Levinas) is related to the historical experience of a disastrous violence that seems to annihilate not only numerous bodies, lives, identities and histories but, rather, any responsible religio to the other – whether living or dead. It is well known, that Levinas claimed that human responsibility demands not to let the other alone in his death. But if the other is already dead – like numerous others who share the same fate – keeps human responsibility silent, then? And how is this religio of human responsibility related to forms of disastrous violence which seem to deny it?
A Radical Theology of Culture
John D. Caputo
I distinguish between the deep culture and the manifest culture, the relationship between the two constituting a circle, which constitutes the circulation of a radical theology of culture. The deep culture surfaces in the manifest, and the manifest draws upon the depths; neither one without the other. My hypothesis is that religion is an expression of the deep culture and for that reason, religion is not accidentally violent; religion is violent in virtue of something essential to religion. Religion is playing with the fire of the concealed depths, of the unconditional, of the impossible, of the undeconstructible. Religion is the best way to save the world, but it also the best way to burn it down. It is both of these things and in virtue of the same property. This is not to say that religion is structurally violent, always and necessarily violent. It is structurally ambiguous, dangerous, on the verge of violence, whipsawing between radical violence and radical non-violence, between martyrdom and murder. Religious beliefs are not the cause of the violence but often a façade for deeper, visceral nationalism or ethnic hatred, The reaction of Christian right to the contemporary world is naive and simplistic but not superficial; it reflects a visceral fear of the postmodern world. Religion is a matter of being claimed by something unconditional, which means it should have the good sense not to lay claim to it. We should never trust anything that has not passes through that apophasis. Before any claims we make, we are laid claim to in advance by the unconditional, the undeconstructible, which Schelling calls the prius, the “un-pre-thinkable” (das Unvordenkliche). The unconditional in the optimal sense is love, which is an expenditure made without the expectation of a return, like loving one’s enemies, which is impossible, the impossible. But love does not get a pass. What would we not do for love? In that question is concentrated all the ambiguity of love, all the courage of the martyr, but no less the violence of the suicide bomber.
The Babylonian Talmud contains a tale about the creation of an artificial calf by two sages who dealt with hilkhot yetzirah, or laws of formation (b. Sanhedrin 65b). Already in the eleventh century CE the phrase “Laws of Formation” was being used to refer to the short, enigmatic, and influential treatise Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Formation), which depicts the creation of the world by means of the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The connection between hilkhot yetzirah and Sefer Yetzirah is of great consequence in determining the period in which the latter was edited, as well as its reception history.
This paper compares the Babylonian and Palestinian talmudic traditions on the fate of the ark of the covenant—either lost before or during the Babylonian conquest, or buried in the Temple precincts (b. Yom’a 53b–54a; y. Sheqalim 6:1–2, 49c). In the Babylonian Talmud, the ark and the cherubim are described in highly erotic, feminized terms, blurring traditional gender categories of Israel and God. The feminization of the ark serves as a “survival strategy” to counter the defiling gaze of the gentile conqueror, but also preserves the sacred center as a locus of longing for Jews in diaspora.
One of the distinctive literary genres of Bratslav Hasidism is the shir yedidot (Song of Endearment), a mystical poem concerning the stature of the soul of R. Naḥman of Bratslav. These poems, still sung by Hasidim today, contain esoteric traditions that reveal the multiple voices within Bratslav Hasidism. This article traces the development of this form from the beginning of the nineteenth century until the present, and argues that changes in emphasis within these songs reflect shifts in Bratslav theology over the years. The study thus presents a more complex historical picture of Bratslav Hasidism, which has usually been seen as one monolithic unit.
Ariel Evan Mayse
This essay interrogates the legal discourse of Shulḥan ha-Tahor, a curious—and curiously understudied—work of Hasidic halakhah written by Rabbi Yitzḥak Ayzik Yehudah Yehiel Safrin of Komarno. The book is, at heart, a systematic reformulation of Jewish law in light of Kabbalah, Hasidism, and the quest for personal mystical experience. Shulḥan ha-Tahor offers a rare case study for the interface of mystical experience, Hasidic devotional values, and kabbalistic doctrine as they explicitly shape the codified forms—and norms—of halakhah. The essay reveals a different side of Jewish modernity through a close reading of an exceptional nineteenth-century legal code.
From a Barren Rocky Earth to Artists, Philosophers, Meditators and Psychotherapists
Michael M. DelMonte and Maeve Halpin
Edited by Gorazd Andrejč and Daniel H. Weiss
This volume argues that Wittgenstein’s philosophy of religion and his thought in general continue to be highly relevant for present and future research on interreligious relations. Spanning several (sub)disciplines – from philosophy of religion, philosophy of language, comparative philosophy, comparative theology, to religious studies – the contributions engage with recent developments in interpretation of Wittgenstein and those in the philosophy and theology of interreligious encounter. The book shows that there is an important and under-explored potential for constructive and fruitful engagement between these academic fields. It explores, and attempts to realize, some of this potential by involving both philosophers and theologians, and critically assesses previous applications of Wittgenstein’s work in interreligious studies.
Contributors are Gorazd Andrejč, Guy Bennett-Hunter, Mikel Burley, Thomas D. Carroll, Paul Cortois, Rhiannon Grant, Randy Ramal, Klaus von Stosch, Varja Štrajn, Nuno Venturinha, Sebastjan Vörös and Daniel H. Weiss.
Openness and Resistance
Quietism, Jansenism, and Cartesianism
Thomas M. Lennon
Why a Philosophical Analysis Elucidates the Historical Discourse
Digital Writing, Digital Scriptures
Friedrich Schleiermacher’s Theology of Finitude
Ruth Jackson Ravenscroft
The book analyses major texts from Schleiermacher’s early work. It argues that his experiments with literary form convey his understanding that human knowledge is inherently social, and that religion is thoroughly linguistic and historical. The book contends that by making finitude (and not freedom) a universal aspect to human life, Schleiermacher offers rich conceptual resources for considering what it means to be human in this world, both in relations of difference to others, and in relation to the infinite.
This paper applies Laborde’s theory of the justice of exemptions to what has become a relatively uncontroversial case, the exemption to military service. It assesses how the exemption test designed by Laborde can guide decision-making relative to a specific historical case, focusing on the French example. The exercise sheds light on how contextual considerations—the legal status quo, the geopolitical context, the number of objectors—decisively influence our normative reasoning about the justifiability of exemptions.
Reaggregating Alternative Disaggregations
Laborde’s Liberalism’s Religion focuses on a philosophical understanding of liberalism infused with the constitutional and legal characteristics of the USA. It cannot, however, contain other weighty patterns of liberal thinking evident in actual and commonly prevalent thought-practices, irreducible to freedom and equality alone. The free development of individuality is also fundamental to a humanist liberal version, and it now entails the right of religious believers to protection from psychological and emotional harm in order to secure their flourishing. Emotional intensity, group identity and the power of religious rhetoric are factors to be considered both in regulating and protecting religious practices and discourse in a liberal society. I conclude with doubts on the viability of the liberal precept of neutrality.
John R. Shook
This study examines government religion policy in 26 Western democracies between 1990 and 2014 using the Religion and State round 3 (RAS3) dataset to determine whether these policies can be considered secular. While many assume that the West and its governments are secular and becoming more secular, the results contradict this assumption. All Western governments support religion in some manner, including financial support. All but Canada restrict the religious practices and/or religious institutions of religious minorities. All but Andorra and Italy restrict or regulate the majority religion. In addition religious both governmental and societal discrimination against religious minorities increased significantly between 1990 and 2014. All of this indicates religion remains a prominent factor in politics and society in the West.
Existential Beliefs and How War Feels
War and other forms of collective political violence raise existential questions for those touched by them. Recent advances in the study of ‘atheism in foxholes’ have been hitherto overlooked in the sociology of war. But they can further illuminate the relationship between war and existential questions. Bringing these literatures into conversation for the first time, this article analyses a sample of young, secular Jewish-Israelis (hilonim) interviewed in the aftermath of the 2014 Israel-Gaza War. It shows how speakers borrowed from both Jewish and Western secular formations to answer existential questions and ‘manage luck.’ Contributing to the theorization of war as social practice through a case study of ‘foxhole atheism’, the article also invites us to think of war as having a ‘secular’ ontology.
Integrity beyond Obligation?
When (if ever) does justice require that individuals have exemptions from general laws on grounds relating to religion? In Liberalism’s Religion, Cécile Laborde argues that the focus ought not to be ‘religion’ but ‘integrity’, an interest shared by religious and non-religious people. Integrity-protecting commitments (IPC s) include commitments expressive of the individual’s sense of what they are obligated to do (‘obligation-IPC s’) and commitments that, while not a matter of obligation, are nevertheless crucial to the individual’s identity (‘identity-IPC s’). Laborde argues that justice permits and requires exemptions from general laws so as to secure these commitments and, thereby, the individual’s underlying interest in integrity. This paper considers whether there is a class of integrity-related commitments which Laborde's approach fails to accommodate - a class of commitments related to ideals of ‘self-transcendence’.
How Genuine Is the Contemporary Revival of Antique Horizons of Existential Meaning?
This paper questions the contemporary turn towards horizons of existential meaning going back to antiquity especially in the shape of a turn to religion by pointing to crucial differences between antique conceptions of thought and their modern revivals. Pierre Hadot and Michel Foucault interpret antique thought as spiritual exercises to perfect human existence, exposing an inherent existential relevance and connection to a peculiar conception of truth. I argue that because of these ties to a truth claim deeply alien to the modern scientific world-view, antique horizons of existential meaning cannot be revived within modern frames of thought. Their contemporary presence is more likely the expression of the deeply ambivalent modern relationship to premodern horizons of existential meaning, rather than a genuine revival.
In Chapter 5 of Liberalism’s Religion, Cécile Laborde considers the freedom and autonomy of religious associations within liberal democratic societies. This paper evaluates her central arguments in that chapter. First, I argue that Laborde makes things too easy for herself in dismissing controversies over the state’s legitimate jurisdictional authority. Second, I argue that Laborde’s view of when associations’ ‘coherence interests’ justify exemptions is too narrow. Third, I consider how we might develop an account of judicial deference to associations’ ‘competence interests’.
Theorists of liberalism put forward diverse conditions for what makes a state just and legitimate. In what follows I examine Cécile Laborde’s suggestion that a just and legitimate liberal state may have an established religion. Such a state may take the form of what she calls Divinitia: a state with some symbolic recognition of religion, conservative laws in matters of bioethics including abortion, religious accommodation from general laws, and religious references in public debate. I argue that Laborde’s requirement that public justification of policies by public officials is conducted in terms of accessible reasons either rules out too many or too few policies. I then suggest that not only justice but also the legitimacy of states can be ensured only if concern for justice has a greater role to play in the selection of state policies than Laborde suggests. We have good reasons to doubt that Divinita would qualify as just and legitimate.
Nancy and Blanchot in Dialogue
Does “community” contain an ineradicable memory of “communion,” and thereby inevitably have conceptual ties to Christianity, if not to fascism? Or can the word, rather, indicate a new way of being in common, one that became briefly visible in the communist experiment, understood first as the appearing of the truth of democracy before it collapsed under the weight of ideology and militarism? While Jean-Luc Nancy identifies motifs from Maurice Blanchot’s early right-wing political commitments in his later left-wing thought, this essay addresses and critiques another of Nancy’s claims: that despite Blanchot’s affirmation of a community unregulated by a reference to unity, he is, in fact, committed to the Christian notion of communion. However, Blanchot distanced his notion of inter-subjectivity from any conception of God, proposing, instead, a “dissymmetric” rather than asymmetric relation, grounded in the encounter of the Other’s death rather than in some trace of the divine.
Translator Sarah Horton
Phenomenology must begin to acknowledge the organic, animal nature of the body instead of focusing only on the pure subjectivity of the flesh. Mediating between Descartes’s extended body (a mere object that is entirely distinct from the self) and Husserl’s lived body (the flesh that is the self), the spread body is the organic body that I have, that is not simply myself and yet is mine. This essay reveals the steep cost of phenomenology’s neglect of the body, which produces a discarnation, or dissolution of the flesh itself. The “flesh without body” vanishes into transparency, exemplified by Descartes’ “madmen” who lose all connection to their organic bodies, to the point of supposing that their bodies are glass. Because organicity is in fact proper to us, denying or rejecting its import can lead only to madness.
Between Word and Touch
A precarious balance exists between remaining faithful to one’s own language and history while also maintaining an ethical attentiveness to the Other. The danger in the former is the penchant for colonizing and violently reducing the Other. The danger of the later is a supine servility and inability to offer a linguistic home for welcoming the Other. To navigate these two extremes, the conditional hospitality of Ricoeur’s hermeneutics is brought into dialogue with the unconditional hospitality of Derrida’s deconstruction. What is needed is the more embodied approach of a carnal hospitality that assists in discerning the right ways of touching and not touching, of uniting word and body, teaching us how to incarnate the impossible possibility of reconciliation and forgiveness with the stranger.
John Panteleimon Manoussakis, Brian W. Becker and Matthew Clemente
A Review of Religion in Contemporary European Cinema: the Postsecular Constellation
William J. Hendel
For Broadening Contemporary Philosophical Study of Religious Experience
Christina M. Gschwandtner
This paper highlights several problems in the contemporary phenomenological analysis of religious experience in Continental philosophy of religion, especially in its French iteration, as manifested in such thinkers as Jean-Luc Marion, Michel Henry, Jean-Yves Lacoste, Jean-Louis Chrétien, Emmanuel Falque, and others. After laying out the main issues, the paper proposes a fuller investigation of religious practices, such as liturgy or ritual, as a fruitful way to address some of the identified limitations. The final section of the paper assesses what questions remain and how one might draw on existing resources in these thinkers to push a phenomenological analysis of religious practices further in ways that broaden phenomenology of religion beyond its current somewhat narrow strictures and commitments.
A Review of Raoul Moati’s Levinas and the Night of Being
Translator Brian W. Becker
This essay traces the phenomenon of revelation beginning with the humblest (sports), to the most personal (love), to the most exalted (religion). Through this analysis, we discover several qualities of revelation: it reveals itself from itself, reveals a new world to me, and reveals another me to myself and to others. Turning to divine Revelation, a further set of concepts is uncovered: the witness who encounters a Revelation without understanding it, a resistance to the testimony of the witness, and a paradox that provokes this resistance by exceeding expectations. These qualities make Revelation both more intelligible and meaningful. For, while holding an exceptional privilege, divine Revelation nonetheless remains in continuity with phenomenality in general and, in arriving from elsewhere by its own initiative, it opens my eyes to the unfolding of its unseen reserves.
Asher D. Biemann
Franz Rosenzweig’s Star of Redemption culminates in an aesthetic configuration of simultaneous presences: world, man, God, creation, revelation, and redemption are viewed in a metahistorical side-by-side, connected by the “factualizing power of the And.” But the idea of simultaneity, which is central to Rosenzweig’s configurative thinking, belongs to the historical imagination as much as it belongs to the theological “breaking through the shackles of time.” Rosenzweig’s “and” belongs to both a tradition of cosmic-aesthetic historicism (Meinecke) and the philosophical reconstitution of time as a simultaneous perception. In the co-presence of all historical moments, history’s hidden Gestalt, which only a people that is at once old and young can envision, connects the “and” of history with what Hegel considered history’s end—its ultimate self-recognition. Eternity, then, means neither flight from, nor resistance to, history’s naked fact, but the recognition of history’s Gestalt as an image that “does not tolerate epochs.”
S. Daniel Breslauer
Recent studies have renewed focus on Martin Buber’s “theopolitics” in contrast to “theological politics.” The present study expands this work by looking at what Buber meant by God. His approach to the Bible, informed by his view that “extended, the lines of relationship meet in the Eternal Thou,” illuminates his analysis of the five types of biblical leadership. That analysis, far from separating “religion” and “politics,” seemed to assume what might be designated a civil religion. The social order was integrated with religious concerns. Underneath the socio-religious surface, however, Buber discerned universal principles of relationship. Analyzing each stage in biblical leadership as Buber presented it shows how he extended the lines of historical relationships to reveal an aspect of the Eternal Thou.
Nadav Berman Shifman
In classical American pragmatism, fallibilism refers to the conception of truth as an ongoing process of improving human knowledge that is nevertheless susceptible to error. This paper traces appearances of fallibilism in Jewish thought in general, and particularly in the halakhic thought of Eliezer Berkovits. Berkovits recognizes the human condition’s persistent mutability, which he sees as characterizing the ongoing effort to interpret and apply halakhah in shifting historical and social contexts as Torat Ḥayyim. In the conclusion of the article, broader questions and observations are raised regarding Jewish tradition, fallibility, and modernity, and the interaction between Judaism and pragmatism in the history of ideas.
Dustin Noah Atlas
This paper proposes that Moses Mendelssohn’s Morning Hours be viewed as the final chapter in a philosophy of imperfection that Mendelssohn had been developing over the course of his life. It is further argued that this philosophy of imperfection is still of philosophical interest. After demonstrating that the concept of imperfection animates Mendelssohn’s early work, this paper turns towards the specific arguments about imperfection Mendelssohn made in the midst of the pantheism controversy—in particular, the claim that human imperfection attests to an independent existence. Simply put: God knows human imperfection, but does not possess it. Therefore, there is a sense in which humans, because of our imperfections, are distinct from God. It is shown that, at least in part, Mendelssohn’s entry into the pantheism controversy, and his willingness to engage even his recently departed friend Lessing in argument, is part of his strategy to preserve his philosophy of imperfection.
Gibt es gute Gründe für den (A)theismus?
Edited by Romy Jaster and Peter Schulte
Einige Beiträge unterziehen klassische Argumente für bzw. gegen die Existenz Gottes einer neuen Betrachtung. Andere gehen der Frage nach, welche Bedingungen eigentlich erfüllt sein müssen, damit die Überzeugung, Gott existiere, als vernünftig angesehen werden kann. Gelten hier dieselben Standards wie bei Überzeugungen über die Existenz von Quasaren? Oder haben religiöse Überzeugungen einen besonderen epistemologischen Status? Und ist es rational zulässig, religiöse Erfahrungen oder tradierte Offenbarungen als Gründe für religiöse Überzeugungen anzuführen?
Mit Beiträgen von Ansgar Beckermann, Katherine Dormandy, Franz von Kutschera, Winfried Löffler, Herman Philipse, Peter Schulte, Holm Tetens und Christian Weidemann.
Volume III: The Crisis of Humanism. A Historial Crossroads
Volume Three, “The Crisis of Humanism,” commences with an important essay on the challenge to the humanist tradition posed in the late 19th century by historical materialism, existentialism and positivism. This is background for the constructive philosophies which sought at the same time to address the general crisis of moral value and provide a positive basis for Jewish existence. Among the thinkers presented in this volume are Moses Hess, Moritz Lazarus, Hermann Cohen (in impressive depth, with a thorough exposition of the Ethics and Religion of Reason), Ahad Ha-Am, I. J. Reines, Simon Dubnow, M. Y. Berdiczewski, the theorists of the Bund, Chaim Zhitlovsky, Nachman Syrkin, and Ber Borochov.
Edited by Willem van Vlastuin and Kelly M. Kapic
Contributors are: Joel R. Beeke, Henk van den Belt, Gert A. van den Brink, Hans Burger, Daniel R. Hyde, Kelly M. Kapic, Reinier W. de Koeijer, Ryan M. McGraw, David P. Murray, Carl R. Trueman, Willem van Vlastuin.
Analytic, Continental and Multicultural Approaches to a New Field of Philosophy
Edited by Heather Salazar and Roderick Nicholls
This is a philosophical response to increasing numbers of spiritual but not religious people inhabiting secular societies and the heightened interaction between a multitude of spiritual traditions in a globalized age. A provocative array of approaches (African, Indigenous, Indian, Stoic, and Sufic perspectives, as well as Western analytic and continental views) offer fresh insights, many articulated by emerging voices.
Contributors are Mariapaola Bergomi, Moses Biney, Christopher Braddock, Drew Chastain, Kerem Eksen, Nikolay Milkov, Roderick Nicholls, Jerry Piven, Heather Salazar, Eric Steinhart, Richard White, Mark Wynn and Eric Yang.
Jewish and Christian Essays on the God of the Bible and Talmud
Edited by Yoram Hazony and Dru Johnson
A Philosophical Autobiography of a Philosopher, Artist, and Musician
Essays by Donald Wiebe
Edited by Anthony Palma
The work is divided into three parts. The first part identifies pertinent connections between 'religion', 'religious studies', and 'science' and why 'reductionism' in the academic study of religion, when properly applied, can bridge the explanatory gap between the sceptic and the devotee. The second part treats conceptual debates in the academic study of religion, with particular reference to the place of 'belief', 'understanding', and 'meaning' in the modern study of religion. The third part addresses the theological resistance to the scientific study of religion and how that resistance can be overcome. Finally, two new essays are included: a critique on ‘The Preconceptions of a Science of Religion’ by Anthony J. Palma, and an accompanying reply by Donald Wiebe.
The Science of Religion: A Defence is an essential resource for both scholarly and non-scholarly audiences alike, and will be of particular interest to both defenders and critics of a scientific study of religion.
Leo Strauss’s grand theme, the theological-political problem, has its basis in the predicament of being a philosopher in a political society. As a Jew and a philosopher, Strauss also faced the entanglement of Judaism and German philosophy culminating in Heidegger’s historicism. These related challenges prompted Strauss’s recognition of the first steps for philosophy in a global epoch. Strauss reinterpreted Heidegger’s religious anticipation of a “meeting of East and West” as a philosophical re-encounter with the Bible as “the East within us.” Whereas the Bible challenges the rationality of the philosophical way of life, this “Bible as Eastern” challenges rationalism itself.
R. Joseph Soloveitchik’s profound engagement with The Guide of the Perplexed is amply attested by Lawrence Kaplan’s recent publication of Soloveitchik’s lectures on this classic work of Jewish philosophy, delivered in 1950–1951 during a year-long course on the Guide. Soloveitchik’s reading is situated outside the boundaries of the Guide’s usual interpretations, and his lectures offer an entirely new view of the essence of the Guide. For Maimonides, hesed, or loving-kindness, is the foundation of the world. Soloveitchik’s lectures offer an elaborate working out of this fundamental insight.
This article explores the metaphysical, epistemological, and mystical aspects of happiness in the Judeo-Arabic Treatise on Ultimate Happiness (Kitāb as-Saʿāda al-Ākhira), of which only two chapters have survived from what is thought to have been a more comprehensive text. Although the treatise is attributed to Moses Maimonides, the conception of happiness (saʿāda) it presents is clearly that of the Pietists (Ḥasīdīm), the Jewish-Sufi circle of thirteenth-century Egypt. The discussion of happiness in this short treatise constitutes an important chapter in the philosophical and mystical discourse about happiness in medieval Jewish-Islamic thought, especially within the Jewish-Sufi mystical stream led by Maimonides’s descendants.
In the fourth treatise of his legal-theological work Kitāb al-Anwār wa-al-Marāqib, Yaʿqūb al-Qirqisānī analyzes a criticism of the Aristotelian syllogism and its epistemological foundations. Qirqisānī defends Aristotelian logic by quoting a passage from an unknown commentary on Aristotle in which the Aristotelian theory of syllogism is explicated. This paper focuses on the historical, theological, and philosophical meanings of the criticism of the syllogism in Qirqisānī’s discussion and analyzes his interpretation of the syllogism as a source of knowledge that should be applied in the realm of legal reasoning and in the interpretation of biblical law.
Edited by Jason N. Blum
Buddhistische Wissenstheorien und Transzendentalphilosophie
Edited by Helmut Girndt
Beitragende sind Kogaku Arifuko, Martin Bunte, Luis Fellipe Garcia, Lutz Geldsetzer, Helmut Girndt, Katsuki Hayashi, Saša Josifović, Michael Lewin, Hitoshi Minobe, Kunihiko Nagasawa, Akira Omine, Valentin Pluder, Raji C. Steineck, Johannes Stoffers und Fabian Völker.
Thirty years of friendly connections between the Japanese Fichte Association and the International Fichte Society have found expression in volume 46 of Fichte Studien. It contains a collection of comparative studies between European and Japanese philosophy centered on transcendental philosophy (of Kant, Fichte and Husserl) and classical Mahayana Buddhism (plus Japan´s Kyoto school). Without denying irreconcilable differences between western and eastern thinking these essays demonstrate that western as well as eastern thinking is based on the universal ground of pre-reflexive cognition.
A Tribute to Kent Emery, Jr.
Edited by Roberto Hofmeister Pich and Andreas Speer
His Intellectual and Scholarly Legacy
Edited by Sam Berrin Shonkoff
A Vindication of his Proof of the Existence of God
Edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron W. Hughes
Hughes Félicité Robert de Lammenais
Edited by Sylvain Milbach and Richard Lebrun
Lamennais challenged traditional religious, political, and social thinking, leaving a fiercely debated reputation. The writings translated here allow 21st-century readers to judge him for themselves.
R. Nahman’s Vision of the Birds and Its Origins in the Zohar
During his final years, R. Nahman of Bratslav endeavored to find a solution for the paradox of unrealized messiahs. His solution was outlined in his dream about birds in December 1806, on the Sabbath of Parashat Va-yeḥi. This dream was influenced by his reading of a story told in the Zohar, Parashat Va-yeḥi, of a “vision of birds” of R. Yehudah, a disciple of R. Shimon bar Yohai, that exemplifies the crisis experienced by the circle of disciples of R. Shimon following his death. The essay elaborates on the connections between the dream and the Zohar story and their influence on R. Nahman’s messianic endeavor.
Abraham Joshua Heschel’s Theological Rejoinder to Heidegger
Martin Heidegger’s philosophy has elicited many theological responses; some enthusiastic, others critical. In this essay I provide an organized and critical analysis of Abraham Joshua Heschel’s theological critique of and rejoinder to the thought of the German philosopher. By looking at Heschel’s 1965 Who is Man? as well as earlier and later texts, I demonstrate the way in which Heschel presents his biblical theology as an alternative to Heidegger’s philosophy.
Christopher M. Cuthill
This paper challenges the widespread emphasis on the absence of God in post- Holocaust historiography, theology, and art by suggesting that Barnett Newman’s Stations of the Cross may have been conceived under the theological category of the apophatic rather than the aesthetic category of the sublime. This paper focuses on the “anti-realist” position of Newman and other artists for whom the Holocaust necessitated a renewed aniconic tendency in Jewish aesthetics. His work, I suggest, holds out a tension between absolute absence and redemptive presence that at once resists and affirms a negative aesthetic of God’s solidarity with suffering.
Maimonides’ Account of Creation and Revelation beyond Naturalism and Politics
Paul E. Nahme
This article reinterprets Maimonides’ theory of creation and revelation by focusing upon the relationship between belief in creation and the affirmation of miracle and law described in Guide II:25. Focusing upon Maimonides’ use of inference to describe creation and revelation, I re-evaluate Maimonides’ account as an instance of inferential reasoning. That is, Maimonides makes use of, rather than proves, the implicit norms of creation and revelation in their explicit function of legal reasoning. Thus, I suggest that Maimonides’ emphasis upon inferential judgment in justifying law is a defense of creation and revelation as rules of reasoning.
The talmudic sages granted the legal status of sefer (book) to five texts: the Torah, tefillin, the get, the mezuzah, and the Scroll of Esther. These texts share two features: they have a ritualistic format and use, and they are the only sacred texts that demonstrate mise en abyme—the trait of literary self-containing. These two traits turn the rabbinic book into a radical case of “open work”: the sefer consists of both textual signs and the actual body of an empirical reader; its pragmatic level is not bracketed out in favor of the semiotic one. I argue that Deleuze’s reception theory best accounts for the sefer.
Kunst, Religion und Philosophie innerhalb und außerhalb von Gesellschaft und Geschichte
Edited by Thomas Oehl and Arthur Kok
Challenging Hegelianism’s current tendency to reduce absolute spirit to objective spirit, the editors have invited a large number of highly-esteemed Hegel scholars to reflect about the domains of absolute spirit (art, religion and philosophy) and their relation to society and history, thereby addressing the universal issue about whether there are cultural phenomena which transcend society and history anew from a Hegelian perspective.
Eine Studie zum verborgenen Einfluss des religiösen Glaubens auf Theorien
Übersetzung von: Clouser, Roy A., The Myth of Religious Neutrality. An Essay on the Hidden Role of Religious Belief in Theories. Notre Dame, London: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005 (1991) erw. u. verb. Neuausgabe
Edited by Christopher Elson and Garry Sherbert
Edited by John Swinton and Brian Brock
Contributors are: Dale P. Andrews, Jana Marguerite Bennett, Marco Derks, R. Ruard Ganzevoort, Bill McAlpine, Kirsten Sonkyo Oh, Sarah Shea, Paul Shrier, Henning Theißen, Hans. G. Ulrich, Karin Ulrich-Eschemann, Heather Walton, Brent Waters, Nick Watson.
The nature and field of comparative theology is mapped with particular attention to the tradition associated with Francis Clooney but noting the global and wider context of theology in a comparative mode. There are four main parts. Firstly, mapping the current field and exploring its methodological and theological aspects, with particular attention to global and intercultural theologies, comparative religion, and the theology of religions. Secondly, considering what the deconstruction of religion means for comparative theology and how the term “religion” may be deployed and understood after this. It also takes into consideration turns to lived and material religion. Thirdly, issues of power, representation, and the subaltern are considered, including the place of feminist and queer theory in comparative theology. Finally, an original and constructive discussion on philosophical hermeneutics, as well as the way certain hermeneutical lenses can bring issues into focus for the comparative theologian, is offered. The text notes key trends, develops original models of practice and method, and picks out and discusses critical issues and lacunae within the field.